Follow up: My Chat with Founder of Uproxx Media

A few days ago I wrote about digg.com’s ill explained actions involving the banning of power users and the inclusion of shiny new blog network Uproxx Media, which I couldn’t find much information about. After doing some research I was able to track down the founder Jarret Myer, who was kind enough to speak with me briefly over the phone.

Jarret, who has logged over a decade working in the music and entertainment business, said he decided to start Uproxx after realizing well written, well produced blogs were far more interesting than anything else going on in the entertainment industry. In early 2008 he approached the owners of blogs that fit this description – With Leather, Flim Drunk, Rawkus and five others – and formed Uproxx. The network just recently gained attention after signing with the ad agency YB Media and getting noticed for their integration with digg.com.

Previously I wondered if there was some kind of financial agreement between the two companies, since Uproxx — as an up and coming blog network — had more to gain than digg. That’s not actually true. Uproxx’s reason for an affiliation is just the most obvious, while digg’s is shrouded in silence (not because they won’t talk, but because no one is asking.)

“We don’t have access to a huge bank trust with a lot of money,” Jarret said during the conversation. He described their efforts as more grassroots, which luckily caught the attention of someone over at digg.

And by the way, it was digg who approached Jarret about the integration and not the other way around. If you think about it from digg’s perspective, they don’t have much of a community in the categories of music, entertainment and sports. Sure diggers like that stuff, but that’s not what brings them to the site. So, approaching Uproxx, whose specialty is in those areas, makes a lot of sense.

Why else would digg top brass decide to pick Uproxx over other networks who are more established? Honestly I don’t know because I haven’t spoken to anyone at digg (Kevin, Jay – feel free to get in touch.) If I had to guess though, I’d say it was because of several things: The blogs have a streamlined design that is similar for every site in the Uproxx family. The content was selected by Jarret on the basis of quality and each of the Uproxx blogs sustained themselves independently prior to getting networked, meaning they’ll be worthy of reading. Plus, there is a greater incentive for Uproxx to strive for more digg integration than Gawker Media sites, which have had digg buttons for as long as I can recall.

Digging Up More Questions

So I understand why Uproxx is on digg even though we didn’t know who they were a month ago. The real question the community should be asking is how this will play out in the future:  Can the top diggers create a network of blogs and get the same attention? How about another network of good blogs? What’s the criteria for getting featured?

Digg will have to do more than confront these issues if they want to keep the faith of their most dedicated fans.

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